Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Georgia

Mutual genocide: Armenians and Turks

 Note: The Armenians in Lebanon demonstrated yesterday against the potential accord between Armenia and Turkey.  What is the story?

            There are geographical locations and regions that are cursed historically.  This essay is not about cities that experienced frequent disasters by natural calamities; for example, we have cities that had vanished because built near active volcanoes such as Pompeii in Italy, others because of being located on seismic faults such as Beirut and lately the Abruzzi region in Italy, and others succumbing to tidal waves and hurricanes such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, the USA Gulf regions, and Rangoon where people perish by the hundred of thousands every year and keep rebuilding in the same devastated areas. 

This article is about cities located on major trade routes and suffered recurring genocides because of human greed for domination and power.  I will focus on the city of Karss in Turkey on the eastern side of the Anatolia Plateau (Anadol).  Karss is built by the river Karss and a must cross location on the route from Georgia, Tabriz (Iran), the Caucasus and Tiflis. I urge my readers to recollect other cursed cities through history.

Eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus form one homogeneous geographic area in economy, culture, and social communication and trades. The Armenians on both sides preferred to pay allegiance to Christian Russia and wished that Russia would grant them administrative autonomy in the Caucasus; the Moslems on both sides paid allegiance to the Moslem Ottoman Empire. The triangle of the current States of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan were the scenes of major battle fields and invasions through history and is still a hot area till now.

            The Nobel Literature Prize winner Orhan Pamuk published “Snow” that described the calamities suffered by the inhabitants of the Karss region.  The Armenian people lived in that region for a thousand years and then many waves of immigrants and refugees from persecutions flocked to it.  The Karss region hosted people from the Empires of Persia, Byzantium and then Moguls, Georgians, Kurds, and Cherkessk. In the 17th century, the Karss region was predominantly of Moslems and then Armenians were second in numbers.

The Russian Empire vied for this region since the 18th century. In 1827, Russia entered Karss and chased out over 27,000 Moslems and transferred 45,000 Armenians to this city from Iran and the Anatolian Plateau. The city of Yerevan (Capital of the current State of Armenia) that was mostly of Iranians was transformed demographically in 1827.  In every Russian invasion to the Karss region, the Russian troops could rely on the Armenian population for auxiliary regiments, logistics, and intelligence services. As the Russian troops vacated the region in 1829, over 90,000 Armenians fled with the Russians fearing well deserved persecutions.

During the Crimea War, that confronted Russia against the combined alliance of Britain, France, and the Ottoman, the Russians put siege on Karss in 1855 for many months and all the Ottoman army within the city was massacred.  The Paris treaty of 1855 forced the Russians to vacate the Karss region. The Ottoman troops retaliated heavily on the Armenians.

In 1859, the Cherkessk, led by their leader Shamel, revolted against the Russians and were defeated; many Christian Russian Orthodox were transferred to Karss to replace the Moslem Cherkessk.  The same eviction process befell three-quarter of the Moslems of Abkhazia in 1867.  Thus, in less than 30 years, the Russian Empire changed the demographics of the Caucasus from mostly Moslems to mostly Christians. Over 1, 200,000 Moslems were forced to transfer to other regions; 800,000 of the Moslems settled in the Ottoman Empire. 

In 1877, the Russians amassed troops on the border with Karss; Sultan Abdel Hamid preempted the invasion by massacring the Armenians on ground that they will inevitably aid the Russians. After 93 days of war, the Russians entered Karss and a pogrom on the Moslems proceeded for many days. The treaty of San Estephanos relinquished the region to the Russian Empire. The Russians built a new city south of the city of Karess where the Emperor Alexander III met with his concubines and hunted. In the next 43 years, the Armenians harassed the Moslems of this region and thousand had to flee. In retaliation, Sultan Abdel Hamid formed in 1891 a special regiment of Kurdish cavalry with the purpose of harassing the Armenians of the Karss region and the pogrom around Lake Van raised an outcry in Europe.

During the First World War, the Armenians again aided the Russians and formed semi-regular armies to fight the Ottoman Empire.  Consequently, in 1915, the Ottoman Empire launched the genocide plan against the Armenians and thousands died of famine during the long march out of Turkey; the Armenians settled in Constantinople (Istanbul) and Adana shared in the mass persecution; only the Armenians in the Caucasus, within Russia, were spared.  The British occupied the Karss region in 1919 and gave some authority to the Armenians who gathered arms from the Moslems and gave them to the Armenians and another round of harassment and massacres took place.

The Turkish General Mustafa Kemal re-occupied the Karss region in 1920 after defeating the Armenian army: the Bolsheviks were then allied to the new Turkish Republic. The Russians transferred the Armenians from the region of Patum to Yerevan.

In 1927, all the properties of the Armenians in Karss were confiscated. The Armenians were robbed of a homeland because Turkey ceased Cyprus to Britain in exchange of guaranteeing the Karss region to Turkey.  Mustafa Kemal (Attaturk) also negotiated a political deal with France to relinquish the Syrian region of Alexandrite to Turkey, setting the premises for future regional feuds.

Nowadays, there are no Armenians in Karss; the imposing buildings of Tsarist Russia are government Administrative offices; a vast villa of 40 rooms is transformed into hospital, and a Jewish museum. An entire century of struggles, massacres, harassments, genocides, and useless hate to their neighbors in order to gain self-autonomy rewarded the Armenians nothing.  They had to wait for the break down of the Soviet Union to enjoy the Armenian State that is totally dependent in its economy on the neighboring States.  Kosovo, Kashmir, Jerusalem, Gaza, and Palestine are current examples of lost opportunities for stability and peace.

Armenia and Turkey owe each other deep apologies for the mutual genocide they perpetrated in history.  I applaud the rapprochement between the two neighboring states as a start for serious active and pragmatic apology and remuneration.

Cursed Cities: Karss (April 14, 2009)

There are geographical locations and regions that are cursed historically.

This essay is not about cities that experienced frequent disasters by natural calamities. For example, we have cities that had vanished because built near active volcanoes such as Pompeii in Italy, others because of being located on seismic faults such as Beirut and lately the Abruzzi region in Italy, and others succumbing to tidal waves and hurricanes such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, the USA Gulf regions, and Rangoon where people perish by the hundred of thousands every year and keep rebuilding in the same devastated areas.

This article is about cities located on major trade routes and suffered recurring genocides because of human greed for domination and power.

I will focus on the city of Karss in Turkey on the eastern side of the Anatolia Plateau (Anadol).  Karss is built by the river Karss and is a must cross location on the route from Georgia, Tabriz (Iran), the Caucasus and Tiflis. I urge my readers to recollect other cursed cities through history.

Eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus form one homogeneous geographic area in economy, culture, and social communication and trades.

The Armenians on both sides preferred to pay allegiance to Christian Russia and wished that Russia would grant them administrative autonomy in the Caucasus.

The Moslems on both sides paid allegiance to the Moslem Ottoman Empire. The triangle of the current States of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan were the scenes of major battle fields and invasions through history and is still a hot area till now.

The Nobel Literature Prize winner Orhan Pamuk published “Snow” that described the calamities suffered by the inhabitants of the Karss region.  The Armenian people lived in that region for a thousand years and then many waves of immigrants and refugees from persecutions flocked to it.

The Karss region hosted people from the Empires of Persia, Byzantium and then Moguls, Georgians, Kurds, and Cherkessk. In the 17th century, the Karss region was predominantly of Moslems and then Armenians were second in numbers.

The absolute monarchic Russian Empire vied for this region since the 18th century.

In 1827, Russia entered Karss and chased out over 27,000 Moslems and transferred 45,000 Armenians to this city from Iran and the Anatolian Plateau. The city of Yerevan (Capital of the current State of Armenia) that was mostly of Iranians was transformed demographically in 1827.

In every Russian invasion to the Karss region, the Russian troops could rely on the Armenian population for auxiliary regiments, logistics, and intelligence services. As the Russian troops vacated the region in 1829, over 90,000 Armenians fled with the Russians fearing well deserved persecution.

During the Crimea War, that confronted Russia against the combined alliance of Britain, France, and the Ottoman, the Russians put siege on Karss in 1855 for many months and all the Ottoman army within the city was massacred.  The Paris treaty of 1855 forced the Russians to vacate the Karss region. The Ottoman troops retaliated heavily on the Armenians.

In 1859, the Cherkessk, lead by their leader Shamel, revolted against the Russians and Shamel was defeated; many Christian Russian Orthodox were transferred to Karss to replace the Moslem Cherkessk.  The same eviction process befell three quarter of the Moslems of Abkhazia in 1867.

Thus, in less than 30 years, the Russian Empire changed the demographics of the Caucasus from mostly Moslems to mostly Christians. Over 1, 200,000 Moslems were forced to transfer to other regions; 800,000 of the Moslems settled in the Ottoman Empire. 

In 1877, the Russians amassed troops on the border with Karss; Sultan Abdel Hamid preempted the invasion by massacring the Armenians on ground that they will inevitably aid the Russians.

After 93 days of war, the Russians entered Karss and a pogrom on the Moslems proceeded for many days. The treaty of San Estephanos relinquished the region to the Russian Empire. The Russians built a new city south of the city of Karess where the Emperor Alexander III met with his concubines and hunted.

In the next 43 years, the Armenians harassed the Moslems of this region and thousand had to flee. In retaliation, Sultan Abdel Hamid formed in 1891 a special regiment of Kurdish cavalry with the purpose of harassing the Armenians of the Karss region and the pogrom around Lake Van raised an outcry in Europe.

During the First World War, the Armenians again aided the Russians and formed semi-regular armies to fight the Ottoman Empire.

Consequently, in 1915, the Ottoman Empire launched the genocide plan against the Armenians and thousands died of famine during the long march out of Turkey. The Armenians settled in Constantinople (Istanbul), and the people in the Adana region shared in the mass persecution; only the Armenians in the Caucasus, within Russia, were spared.

The British occupied the Karss region in 1919 and gave some authority to the Armenians who gathered arms from the Moslems and gave them to the Armenians and another round of harassment and massacres took place.

The Turkish General Mustafa Kemal re-occupied the Karss region in 1920 after defeating the Armenian army: the Bolsheviks were then allied to the new Turkish Republic. The Russians transferred the Armenians from the region of Patum to Yerevan.

In 1927, all the properties of the Armenians in Karss were confiscated. The Armenians were robbed of a homeland because Turkey ceased Cyprus to Britain in exchange of guaranteeing the Karss region to Turkey.  Mustafa Kemal (Attaturk) also negotiated a political deal with France to relinquish the Syrian region of Alexandrite to Turkey, setting the premises for future regional feuds.

Nowadays, there are no Armenians in Karss; the imposing buildings of Tsarist Russia are government Administrative offices; a vast villa of 40 rooms is transformed into hospital, and a Jewish museum.

An entire century of struggles, massacres, harassment,  genocides, and useless hate to their neighbors in order to gain self-autonomy rewarded the Armenians nothing.  They had to wait for the break down of the Soviet Union to enjoy the Armenian State that is totally dependent in its economy on the neighboring States.  Kosovo, Kashmir, Jerusalem, Gaza, and Palestine are current examples of lost opportunities for stability and peace.

Modern Day Crusaders: The Ashkenazi Spearhead “Jews”, (April 27, 2009)

Brief Ancient history:  Many waves of Crusading forces assembled in Medieval Europe with the avowed purpose of recapturing the Holy City of Jerusalem from the hands of the Moslem “Infidels”.

The successive crusading invasions were mainly of trading nature: the wealthy European new class of merchants wanted a cheaper trade for securing the spice and perfume routes of India and the Far-East Asia via Egypt.

The Crusaders failed to capture Egypt on 3 occasions and the objective of investing money in order to securing cheaper spices and perfumes that were transported by land routes through Iran and Turkey did not generate any return and the Crusading campaigns stopped.

The maritime crusading campaigns restarted in the 16th centuries by Portugal and Spain.

India and the Far Eastern Asian, sources of spices, perfume, and gold were colonized and maritime stronghold ports were established around Africa, India, Yemen, and the Persian/Arabia Sea.  The British recaptured most of these colonies and trading posts (comptoirs) and secured the direct administration of Egypt.

Slightly Modern history:  Britain, France, and Russia realized that it is too costly to colonize the former empires of Iran and Turkey for no major returns, since raw materials could be obtained relatively cheaply by maritime routes. Their best strategy was to weaken these nations and nibble on their neighboring regions.

Russia got interested in the Caucasus triangle of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia.

France was interested in Syria and Lebanon.

Britain got mandate power over Iraq, Jordan, and Palestine.

And then oil was discovered in abundance in this region, starting in southern Iran around 1906.

The First World War used mechanized troops; diesel engines were substituted to vapor engines as mechanical workhorse for industries.

The USA got in the fray since 1920 for oil explorations in the Arabic peninsula and exhibited its colonial ambitions by conquering Cuba and the Philippines from Spain in 1911.

Modern history:  Britain enticed the Hashemite king of Mecca, supposedly from the same Quraich tribe of the Prophet Muhammad, to support the war effort against the Moslem Ottoman Empire.

Britain quickly realized that the Near Eastern population (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine) would not mind a “nominal” nomadic king from Mecca, but the Levantine people were too independent and urban to relinquish their desires for autonomy.

Consequently, Britain and France decided that it would be too risky to allow the Near Eastern people to unite under a vital and critical Nation.

The alternative was found by using the Zionist movement as a spearhead to disrupting any unification of the region.  The British Foreign Affairs Balfour issued in 1917 a declaration of intent favorable to the settlement of the Zionist movement in Palestine.

In the same year, Britain and France decided to split their mandated powers over the Near East.  Consequently, the Ashkenazi “Jews” of Central Europe, were encouraged to build agricultural colonies in Palestine in order to establishing a “Jewish Homeland” with avowed purpose of re-capturing the Jewish Holy City of Jerusalem.

The modern crusade of the western nations is cloaked in Jewish biblical claims to destabilize this strategic region.

Since 1920, the Ashkenazi Jews were directed by International Zionism to buy and settle Palestine and it was supported by the European governments of Britain and France.

The beginning of Nazi Germany persecutions of Jews in 1933 encouraged the European nations to transfer the Jews to Palestine in order not to alienate Nazi Germany and succumb to its demands for repatriation of the Ashkenazi “Jews” into concentration camps.

It does not mean that the plan to establishing a “Homeland” for the Ashkenazi Jews was inevitable or that the people in the Near East were not aware of the plan and its existential danger.  The main troubles were:

First, this region had not credible institutions and lacked unified organizations to counter politically this harrowing plan;

Second, the surrounding empires of Turkey, Iran, and Egypt were struggling for survival and had no immediate interests in their backyard; and

Third, the mandate superpowers of Britain and France controlled and managed the region and its policies.

The people in the Near East are aware that the State of Israel is a western implant of the same kind of crusadering campaigns in the first millennia. The Zionist ideology prevented the leadership in Israel in alleviating and changing this perception for over 60 years.

There are indications that the USA and Europe comprehend that the game is over and are drawing plans for the counter immigration of the Ashkenazi to their original homelands.

The Sephardic Jews have practically nowhere to go, and they will manage to integrate Palestine as they did since ancient times.

It would be beneficial for the western nations to change their policies of “divide to dominate” in the Near East and start negotiating with the national resistance forces, even if they offer the image of religious resistance forces, because this is the most potent factor when secular conditions are weak.

The western nations need to negotiate with all resistances forces in the region as national resistance to a foreign implant, so that the new emerging nation does not fall to the extremist conservative religious ideologies.

This is a long term fight of 20 years and the secular democratic forces in the Near East need to have an opportunity for a fighting chance.

Note: I am perfectly aware that many would use the dismissive “anti-semitism” cliché in emulation of the lazy media approach to hot issues.  It is interesting to realize that effective and valuable communication is based on personal reflection with rational thinking as guiding rod.

Bi-Weekly Report (#20) on Lebanon and the Middle East (May 3, 2009)

 

Israel would like to play games with the US Administration in order to delaying tough decisions for the establishment of a Palestinian State that everyone has been yearning for. Israel is trying to focus the attention on Iran but there are no takers.  The US Administration knows that there are no peace treaties with the Palestinians or Syria unless the regional powers are satisfied and consenting; mainly Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.  Iran is the easiest of the roadblocks among ther four major regional powers because Iran would rather focus its investment on the social and economical issues in Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria. 

The most difficult power to satisfy would be Egypt because it lost all credibilities for making any difference in the Arab World and in Africa; Egypt is holding staunchly to its last Palestinian cards since the huge weight in the Arab World that Gamal Abdel Nasser created for Egypt was dilapidated and used up since Sadate in 1970.  In fact, if a Palestinian State is voted for in the UN then Egypt would have to turn to its main responsibility which is Sudan. Sudan is a real hot potato and an international focus; Egypt has neglected Sudan for so long that it has no real leverage over there.

Saudi Arabia comprehends that exporting and prozelitizing its Wahhabit sect will come to an abrupt stop if peace and stability reign in the States of the Sunni Moslems.  The Wahabit salafist sect relies mainly on religious extremisms in the Arab World which is fueled by considering Israel and Iran as nemesis to the Moslems.

Turkey is enjoying its new found role of mediator and would rather that this exercise last longer to convince France that Turkey is a critical factor for the European Union political effectiveness in the Middle East. The triangle of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan is a very hot potato for Turkey to focus its attention on: Turkey would rather not alienate Russia at this junction before it secures a place in the EU.

Israel has been trying since the coming of Barak Obama to immerse the new US Administration in the recurring troubles between India and Pakistan and comploting terrorists attack in both States; the purpose was to divert the US was pressuring Israel to deliver on its promises for facilitating the establishment of a recognized Palestinian State.  With spring the Pakistani Army is making good progress inside the rebellious extremist Taliban type districts within Pakistan such as the Valley of Souwat and with the support of US military shipments.

 

I was having a nap around 4 p.m. this Wednesday when I overheard that the four military officers, Jameel Al Saeyed (former Security Director), Raymond Azar (military intelligence), Mustafa Hamdan (Presidential guard), and Ali Haj (director of the internal forces) will be released this afternoon after the special International Court of Justice for former Rafic Hariri realized that it had no legal indictments on any one of the Generals.

There will be strong pressures for four judges to resign because they covered up information and detained the officers for 44 months without any kinds of indictments for political reasons; mainly the focus will be on the judges Saeed Mirza and Sakr Sakr.  Many heads will fall and the government is in hot water, especially Seniora PM, Saad Hariri, Walid Jumblatt, Samer Geaja, and particularly deputy Marwan Hamady for fabricating false testimonies by false witnesses.

After four years of investigation into the assassination of Rafic Hariri the International Court has nothing in its file for indicting anyone.  Nasr Allah, the Secretary General of Hezbollah has suggested that a new venue be focused on; mainly the Israeli connection because they had the interest and the means for this major upheaval in Lebanon.  Nas Allah proclaimed that no more indictments or imprisonement would be facilitated before thorough analysis of the proofs with the UN Court.

Jameel Al Saeyed had explained that their political indictment was a routine behavior of every government since the Independence of Lebanon. The security responsibility of any government starts with the president of the Republic, then the Prime Minister, then the Head of the Parliament, then the ministers, then the deputies and lastly the security forces.  All the massacres, treasury stealing, financial black boxes, and insecurity of the State are done by the politicians and based on their policies.  Once the politicians find it convenient to reconcile their differences it is the officers of the security and military forces that are targeted as scapegoats.

Next Tuesday the highest court of judges of Lebanon will meet and come up with a credible explanation for shirking its independence as the third authority and hopefully major heads should pay the price for ruining the credibility of our justice system.

Modern Day Crusaders: The Ashkenazi Spearhead (April 26, 2009)

First, a brief ancient history for context:

The many waves of Crusading forces assembled in Medieval Europe with the avowed purpose of recapturing the Holy City of Jerusalem from the hands of the Muslim “Infidels” were mainly of trading nature: they were meant of securing the spice and perfume routes of India and the Far east Asia via Egypt.

The Crusaders failed to capture Egypt and the objective of investing money in order to securing cheaper spices and perfumes that were transported by land routes through Iran and Turkey did not generate any return and the campaigns stopped.

The maritime crusading campaigns restarted in the 17th centuries by Portugal and Spain.

India and the Far Eastern Asian sources of spices, perfume, and gold were colonized and maritime stronghold ports were established around Africa, India, Yemen, and the Persian/Arabia Sea. The British recaptured most of these colonies and “trading comptoirs” and secured the direct administration of Egypt.

Slightly Modern history:

Britain, France, and Russia realized that it is too costly to colonize the former empires of Iran and Turkey for no major returns since raw materials could be obtained relatively cheaply by maritime routes.

Their best strategy was to weaken these nations and nibble on their neighboring regions.

Russia got interested on the Caucasus triangle of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia.

France was interested in Syria and Lebanon.

Britain got mandate over Iraq, Jordan, and Palestine. And then oil was discovered in abundance in this region starting in southern Iran around 1906.

The First World War used mechanized troops; diesel engines were substituted to vapor engines as mechanical workhorse for industries. The USA got in the fray since 1920 for oil explorations in the Arabic peninsula and exhibited its colonial ambitions by conquering Cuba and the Philippines from Spain.

Modern history:

Britain enticed the Hashemite king of Mecca, supposedly from the same tribe of the Prophet Muhammad, to support the war effort against the Moslem Ottoman Empire. Britain quickly realized that the Near Eastern population would not mind a “nominal” nomadic king from Mecca but they were too independent and urban to relinquish their desires for autonomy.

Consequently, Britain and France decided that it would be too risky to allow the Near Eastern people to unite under a vital and critical Nation.

The alternative was found by using the Zionist movement as a spearhead to disrupting any unification in the region. The British Foreign Affairs Balfour issued in 1917 a declaration of intent favorable to the settlement of the Zionist movement in Palestine.

In the same year, Britain and France decided to split their mandates over the Near East.

Consequently, the Ashkenazi “Jews” of Central Europe, were encouraged to build agricultural colonies in Palestine in order to establish a “Jewish Homeland” with avowed purpose of re-capturing the Jewish Holy City of Jerusalem.

The modern crusade of the western nations is cloaked in Jewish biblical claims to destabilize this strategic region.

Since 1920, the Ashkenazi Jews were directed by International Zionism to buy and settle Palestine and it was supported by the European governments of Britain and France.

The beginning of Nazi Germany persecutions of Jews in 1933 encouraged the European nations to transfer the Jews to Palestine in order not to alienate Nazi Germany and succumb to its demands for repatriation of the Ashkenazi “Jews” into concentration camps.

It does not mean that the plan to establishing a “Homeland” for the Ashkenazi Jews was inevitable or that the people in the Near East were not aware of the plan and its existential danger. The main troubles were:

First, this region had no credible institutions and lacked unified organizations to counter politically this harrowing plan;

Second,  the surrounding empires of Turkey, Iran, and Egypt were struggling for survival and had no immediate interests in their backyard; and

Third, the mandate superpowers of Britain and France controlled and managed the region and its policies.

The people in the Near East are aware that the State of Israel is a western implant of the same kind of crusaders campaigns in the first millennia.

The Zionist ideology prevented the leadership in Israel in alleviating and changing this perception for over 60 years. There are indications that the USA and Europe comprehend that the game is over and are drawing plans for the counter immigration of the Ashkenazi to their original homelands.

The Sephardic Jews have practically nowhere to go and they will manage to integrate Palestine as they did for thousand of years.

It would be beneficial for the western nations to change their policies of “divide to dominate” in the Near East and start negotiating with the national resistance forces, even if they offer the image of religious resistance forces, because this is the most potent factor when secular conditions are weak.

The western nations need to negotiate with all resistances forces in the region as national resistance to a foreign implant so that the new emerging nation does not fall to the extremist conservative religious ideologies.

This is a long term fight of 20 years and the secular democratic forces in the Near East need to have an opportunity for a fighting chance.

Note: I am perfectly aware that many would use the dismissive “anti-semitism” cliché in emulation of the lazy media approach to hot issues. It is interesting to realize that effective and valuable communication is based on personal reflection with rational thinking as guiding rod.

Cursed Cities: Karss (April 14, 2009)

 

There are geographical locations and regions that are cursed historically

This essay is not about cities that experienced frequent disasters by natural calamities. For example, we have cities that had vanished because built near active volcanoes such as Pompeii in Italy, others because of being located on seismic faults such as Beirut and lately the Abruzzi region in Italy, and others succumbing to tidal waves and hurricanes such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, the USA Gulf regions, and Rangoon… and where people perish by the hundred of thousands every year and keep rebuilding in the same devastated areas. 

This article is about cities located on major trade routes and suffered recurring genocides because of human greed for domination and power.  I will focus on the city of Karss in Turkey on the eastern side of the Anatolia Plateau (Anadol). 

Karss is built by the river Karss and a must cross location on the route from Georgia, Tabriz (Iran), the Caucasus and Tiflis. I urge my readers to recollect other cursed cities through history.

Eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus form one homogeneous geographic area in economy, culture, and social communication and trades. The Armenians on both sides preferred to pay allegiance to Christian Russia and wished that Russia would grant them administrative autonomy in the Caucasus. The Moslems on both sides paid allegiance to the Moslem Ottoman Empire.

The triangle of the current States of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan were the scenes of major battle fields and invasions through history and is still a hot area till now.

The Nobel Literature Prize winner Orhan Pamuk published “Snow” that described the calamities suffered by the inhabitants of the Karss region.  The Armenian people lived in that region for a thousand years and then many waves of immigrants and refugees from persecutions flocked to it.  The Karss region hosted people from the Empires of Persia, Byzantium and then Moguls, Georgians, Kurds, and Cherkessk. In the 17th century, the Karss region was predominantly of Moslems and then Armenians were second in numbers.

The Russian Empire vied for this region since the 18th century. In 1827, Russia entered Karss and chased out over 27,000 Moslems and transferred 45,000 Armenians to this city from Iran and the Anatolian Plateau. The city of Yerevan (Capital of the current State of Armenia) that was mostly of Iranians was transformed demographically in 1827.  In every Russian invasion to the Karss region, the Russian troops could rely on the Armenian population for auxiliary regiments, logistics, and intelligence services. As the Russian troops vacated the region in 1829, over 90,000 Armenians fled with the Russians fearing well deserved persecutions.

During the Crimea War, that confronted Russia against the combined alliance of Britain, France, and the Ottoman, the Russians put siege on Karss in 1855 for many months and all the Ottoman army within the city was massacred.  The Paris treaty of 1855 forced the Russians to vacate the Karss region. The Ottoman troops retaliated heavily on the Armenians.

In 1859, the Cherkessk, lead by their leader Shamel, revolted against the Russians and were defeated; many Christian Russian Orthodox were transferred to Karss to replace the Moslem Cherkessk.  The same eviction process befell three quarter of the Moslems of Abkhazia in 1867.  Thus, in less than 30 years, the Russian Empire changed the demographics of the Caucasus from mostly Moslems to mostly Christians. Over 1, 200,000 Moslems were forced to transfer to other regions; 800,000 of the Moslems settled in the Ottoman Empire. 

In 1877, the Russians amassed troops on the border with Karss; Sultan Abdel Hamid pre-empted the invasion by massacring the Armenians on ground that they will inevitably aid the Russians. After 93 days of war, the Russians entered Karss and a pogrom on the Moslems proceeded for many days. The treaty of San Estephanos relinquished the region to the Russian Empire. The Russians built a new city south of the city of Karess where the Emperor Alexander III met with his concubines and hunted. In the next 43 years, the Armenians harassed the Moslems of this region and thousand had to flee. In retaliation, Sultan Abdel Hamid formed in 1891 a special regiment of Kurdish cavalry with the purpose of harassing the Armenians of the Karss region and the pogrom around Lake Van raised an outcry in Europe.

During the First World War, the Armenians again aided the Russians and formed semi-regular armies to fight the Ottoman Empire.  Consequently, in 1915, the Ottoman Empire launched the genocide plan against the Armenians and thousands died of famine during the long march out of Turkey; the Armenians settled in Constantinople (Istanbul) and Adana shared in the mass persecution; only the Armenians in the Caucasus, within Russia, were spared.  The British occupied the Karss region in 1919 and gave some authority to the Armenians who gathered arms from the Moslems and gave them to the Armenians and another round of harassment and massacres took place.

The Turkish General Mustafa Kemal re-occupied the Karss region in 1920 after defeating the Armenian army: the Bolsheviks were then allied to the new Turkish Republic. The Russians transferred the Armenians from the region of Patum to Yerevan.

In 1927, all the properties of the Armenians in Karss were confiscated. The Armenians were robbed of a homeland because Turkey ceased Cyprus to Britain in exchange of guaranteeing the Karss region to Turkey.  Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) also negotiated a political deal with France to relinquish the Syrian region of Alexandrite to Turkey, setting the premises for future regional feuds.

Nowadays, there are no Armenians in Karss; the imposing buildings of Tsarist Russia are government Administrative offices; a vast villa of 40 rooms is transformed into hospital, and a Jewish museum. An entire century of struggles, massacres, harassment, genocides, and useless hate to their neighbors in order to gain self-autonomy rewarded the Armenians nothing. 

They had to wait for the break down of the Soviet Union to enjoy the Armenian State that is totally dependent in its economy on the neighboring States.  Kosovo, Kashmir, Jerusalem, Gaza, and Palestine are current examples of lost opportunities for stability and peace.


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